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What constitutes desertion under North Dakota divorce law?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2019 | Divorce |

When pursuing a fault-based divorce in North Dakota, there are many reasons why the request will be granted by the court. Some of the basics that most will think about when considering a reason for divorce are adultery and abuse. One that does not get significant attention is desertion. However, it happens quite often and those who are considering a divorce because they believe a spouse has deserted them should know what the law says about how desertion is defined.

If the parties have separated, there are various categories that show desertion has taken place. If a spouse has refused to take part in reasonable marital intercourse when they are healthy enough and physically able to do so, or if there is a refusal to reside in the same home when there is no reason to do so, it will be considered desertion. A party who has been schemed against or defrauded to leave the residence or is absent and while that person is absent, the other spouse leaves intending to desert, it will be desertion. If a spouse departs the residence because of cruelty or due to bodily harm when the other spouse would be apprehended is not desertion by the party who leaves, but the other party.

A party being absent or the couple being separated will be desertion when the intent to desert is put in place while the person is absent or the couple is separated. If there is a separation with consent, it can be revoked, but if one seeks reconciliation or to restore the marriage and does so in good faith and there is refusal from the other party, it is desertion. Finally, if one spouse leaves the other prior to the statutory period where there will be desertion used as a cause for divorce and returns to again take part in the marriage, it is not desertion; but if there is an offer to return and the spouse refuses, it will be considered desertion from the time the person refused.

Determining fault is a part of many divorces in North Dakota and if it can be shown that one spouse deserted the other, this can be a key factor when property division, child custody and other divorce legal issues are decided upon. A law firm that has helped many people with divorce should be consulted with to gauge whether there was desertion and give advice to move forward with the case.

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